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Opening Bell: 03.07.11

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JPMorgan Number One Investment Bank Driven By Emerging Market Deals (Bloomberg)
The world’s best-paid investment bank in 2010 was JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), which ranks No. 1 in the Bloomberg 20 for the third year in a row, with total fees of $4.14 billion. The bank also led the field in fees from bond and equity issues. Morgan Stanley supplanted Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) for the No. 2 position in total fees for 2010, earning $3.67 billion. Goldman Sachs is No. 3 overall with $3.60 billion. It ranks No. 1 in earnings from mergers and acquisitions, as it has every year since the Bloomberg 20 started in 2004.

Raj Rajaratnam's Biggest Bet Yet May Be To Take The Stand (WSJ)
The 53-year-old founder of Galleon Group has told people close to him that he intends to testify at his own trial, the biggest legal showdown over insider trading in a generation.

Barclays Awards Chief Executive $11 Million Bonus (Bloomberg)
Bob Diamond was awarded a 6.5 million-pound bonus for 2010 and a further 2.25 million pounds depending on the lender’s performance, London-based Barclays said in a statement today. His base salary will rise to 1.35 million pounds from 250,000 pounds after he became CEO on Jan. 1.

Brian Moynihan Said To Look Ahead To 'Normal' Performance (Bloomberg)
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan will tell investors tomorrow what profits to expect as the U.S. economy stabilizes and detail progress on his vow to increase shareholder equity, said two people with knowledge of his plans. The bank’s guidance to investors will include credit losses and estimates for return on tangible equity, a measure of shareholder returns that excludes goodwill, said the people. “The last two or three years have been anything but normal for Bank of America, and with indications we’re entering into a better environment, the company wants to give a sense of how its businesses ought to perform,” said David Havens, a managing director at Nomura Holdings Inc. “The disappointment that could occur is that the presentation will reflect the new reality” of lowered returns after U.S. bank regulations.

Most Economists Say Fed Easing Is Helping (CNBC)
The survey from the National Association for Business Economics found 62.4 percent of the economists polled think the central bank's $600 billion stimulus plan is working. Another 21.8 percent see the policy, which has come under fire from some conservative politicians and a number of emerging market policy makers, having no impact. Another 15.8 percent said the program was actively harmful.

Mark Cuban, Charlie Sheen In Talks (ESPN)
Cuban confirmed Sunday evening that he's had several conversations with Sheen recently about developing programming for HDNet, the cable network Cuban owns. "You've got somebody that everybody has a whole lot of interest in who's doing some interesting things, to say the least, and we always look for interesting programming by featuring interesting people doing interesting things," Cuban said before the Mavericks' game against the Memphis Grizzlies. "I reached out and we've had some conversations, and we're going to work on doing some things."

UBS Names Joint Global Heads for Investment Banking Division (Bloomberg)
The bank named Matthew Grounds and Simon Warshaw joint global heads of its investment banking division after John Wall retired.

Another top exec is departing Goldman's GSAM (IM)
Steve McGuinness, co-chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management's investment management business and global head of distribution and a 19-year firm veteran, is leaving the Goldman next month.

Moody's Downgrades Greece (WSJ)
Moody's Investor Service Inc. on Monday slashed Greece's credit rating by three notches and signaled it could cut it even further, dragging the European sovereign deeper into junk-grade territory. The ratings agency downgraded Greece to B1 from Ba1, and kept its negative outlook. Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings both rate the country slightly higher at double-B-plus, with a negative outlook.

Dog ate toes of diabetic Ore. owner as he slept (AP)
A dog ate three of his owner's toes as the diabetic man slept, most likely out of instinct to help remove diseased flesh, animal experts say. James Little, 61, called 911 on Tuesday to say his dog had eaten the body parts while he was sleeping. He told The Associated Press on Friday that he is "doing fine." Little suffers from diabetes, of which one symptom is numbness in the hands or feet. The dog, a Shiba Inu, was acting on its instinct to remove diseased flesh and does not appear to be dangerous, said Douglas County Animal Control Deputy Lee Bartholomew.


Opening Bell: 04.13.12

JPMorgan Profit Slips (WSJ) J.P. Morgan reported a profit of $5.38 billion, down from $5.56 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, earnings were $1.31, up from $1.28 as the share count outstanding declined. The latest quarter included a net 8-cent per-share loss tied to litigation expenses and changes in the value of the bank's debt. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of $1.18, excluding debt-related charges. Revenue rose 6.3% to $27.42 billion. Analysts were looking for $24.68 billion. Wells Fargo reports higher first-quarter profit (Reuters) Wells Fargo, the nation's fourth-biggest U.S. bank, said net income was $4.25 billion, or 75 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $3.76 billion, or 67 cents, a share in the same period a year earlier. The average estimate from analysts was 73 cents per share. JPMorgan Said to Transform Treasury to Prop Trading (Bloomberg) Achilles Macris, hired in 2006 as the CIO’s top executive in London, led an expansion into corporate and mortgage-debt investments with a mandate to generate profits for the New York- based bank, three of the former employees said. Dimon, 56, closely supervised the shift from the CIO’s previous focus on protecting JPMorgan from risks inherent in its banking business, such as interest-rate and currency movements, they said. Some of Macris’s bets are now so large that JPMorgan probably can’t unwind them without losing money or roiling financial markets, the former executives said, based on knowledge gleaned from people inside the bank and dealers at other firms. Bank Bonus That Tops Salary May Be Banned by EU Lawmakers (Bloomberg) Governments and lawmakers in the 27-nation EU are considering rules for lenders that would go far beyond international agreements approved by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Denmark, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has proposed empowering nations to set surcharges of up to 3 percent across their banking systems. Karas yesterday suggested adding language to the legislation that would ban banker bonuses that exceed fixed pay, following calls from other lawmakers to rein in excessive compensation. IMF Lifts Growth Forecast, Cautiously (WSJ) Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said the world economy is marked by "a high degree of instability" even though prospects for global growth are better than they were a few months ago. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Lagarde said the IMF, which marked down its 2012 forecast for global growth in January to 3.3%, has now marked it up to reflect improving conditions in the world economy. But she said the new forecast, to be released next week, remains more pessimistic than the one it made last September, which predicted 4% growth. Europe remains the biggest single risk to the global economy, the former French finance minister said. Hedge Fund Driver Guns DownArmed Robber (NYP) A retired NYPD lieutenant blew away a drugstore bandit yesterday as the suspect tried to gun down three police officers during a foot pursuit, sources said. Thomas Barnes, Barnes — a driver for hedge fund manager Philippe Laffont, was filling his tank at the BP station on East 119th Street and First Avenue at around 11 a.m. when he saw gunman Rudolph Wyatt running from the store, and sprang into action. He crouched behind his hedge-fund boss’ Mercedes SUV and squeezed off three shots, killing Wyatt, 23. The trigger-happy thug — wanted on warrants for two other shootings — lay dead in a pool of blood on the sidewalk wearing a black stocking mask with a wad of stolen cash spilling out of his pocket, witnesses said. “Part of the back of his head was missing. He had a large head wound and there was tons of blood,” said witness John Brecevich, 59, owner of the Original Patsy’s restaurant nearby. “It was a scene straight out of NYPD Blue.” Trustees Aim For MF Execs (NYP) The trustee tasked with clawing back money for burned customers of MF Global is training his sights on the brokerage firm’s executives — a list that likely includes former CEO Jon Corzine. In a statement yesterday, trustee James Giddens said he is considering pursuing claims against “certain responsible individuals” who worked for MF at the time customers’ trading accounts were improperly tapped. Kent Jarrell, a spokesman for Giddens, declined to name names but said the trustee is considering civil suits against “officers, directors or other employees” of both the brokerage firm and the holding company. Fed Officials Differ on Need to Keep Rates Low to 2014 (Bloomberg) William C. Dudley, president of the New York Fed, and Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said the 2014 time-frame is needed to lower unemployment from 8.2 percent. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said rising inflation may prompt an interest-rate increase as early as this year, while Philadelphia’s Charles Plosser said policy should hinge on economic performance, not a calendar commitment. Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Race into home fire was a "come to Jesus moment" (CBS) Booker arrived home last night to discover his next-door neighbor's house on fire, and rescued a young woman trapped upstairs by carrying here through the flames, suffering second-degree burns in the process. The mayor's security team discovered the fire and pounded on the door to alert residents, when an elderly woman said that her daughter was trapped upstairs. At first, Newark Police Detective Alex Rodriguez would not let Booker into the burning house. "He basically told me, 'This woman is going to die if we don't help her,' and what can I say to that?," Rodriguez said. "I let him go and without thinking twice, he just ran into the flames and rescued this young lady." Booker said that as he jumped through the kitchen on the second floor, "I actually wasn't thinking. When I got there and couldn't find her in all the smoke, looked behind me and saw the kitchen really erupting with flames all over the ceiling, that's when I had very clear thoughts that I'm not going to get out of this place alive and got ... very religious. He admitted he was "not gentle" with her - "I just sort of threw her over my shoulder and dragged her through the kitchen."